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Courbefy, French Village, On Sale For Less Than Some U.S. Homes

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Looking for a place to call home? You might be able to buy an entire village for the same amount that it costs to buy a house in some places.

The French village of Courbefy, in Limousin, a region in central France, has been put up for sale for the seemingly low asking price of $436,370, according to the Telegraph. The village, which includes 19 buildings and a swimming pool, was once home to about 200 people. But after the town failed to transform itself into a tourist destination, local residents say it's now filled mostly with "thieves, drunks and squatters."

But Courbefy isn't the only town to go up for sale recently. Last April, a medieval village in the central Italian region of Abruzzo was put up for sale for about $770,000, according to a separate Telegraph report. The village, which is largely uninhabitable, includes 11 "crumbling stone buildings" and a half-ruined 13th century church. More recently, the British village of Askham Richard near York, went up for sale with a price tag of more than $10 million.

The average new U.S. home cost $272,900 as of 2010, according to the Census.

As romantic as it may sound, owning a village can often present a series of problems for the landlords. There are about a dozen privately owned villages in the UK, according to The Guardian, and aside from the considerable task of maintaining numerous historical buildings, town landlords also have to worry about the dynamics of the community, like finding the best way to cope with schools running low on students.

"Some people call it social engineering," John Rous, who's family has owned a British village for generations, told The Guardian, "I prefer to think of it as keeping the village alive."

That could be why privately owned islands seem to be a more popular choice for those looking to become lord of the land. Billionaire Sir Richard Branson owns the tropical paradise of Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, for example, which can be rented out for the tidy sum of $47,000 a day. Meanwhile, magician David Copperfield actually owns four islands that make up his Bahamian Musha Cay estate.

For potential island buyers looking for a more unspoiled choice, Red Rock Island in San Francisco bay was recently put on the market for $9 million, down from $22 million. The 5.8-acre rock is undeveloped but it may still make a good investment, particularly if you're into secret caves and buried pirate treasure.

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